A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Friday, February 24, 2006

Neglected Affirmations of the Christian Faith #3

Today's post discusses the session of Christ. The Nicean Creed states that Jesus "ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father."

Session literally means "a sitting." The Old Testament portrays God as seated on the throne of the universe, thereby signifying sovereignty (1 Kings 22:19; Psalm 2:4; 99:1, holiness (Psalm 47:8, and majesty (Isaiah 6:1-4). In Psalm 110:1, the Messiah is invited to occupy the position of honor at God's right hand. The Messiah's throne is to be one of sovereignty and priesthood (Psalm 110:1, 4; Zechariah 6:12-13) and of judgment (Malachi 3:3).

All of these images are background to the ascension of Christ (Philippians 2:9-11; Ephesians 1:20-23). The book of Hebrews describes Christ's session as the sequel to his one complete sacrifice on earth (1:3; 10:12; 12:2). He sits as high priest after the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 8:1; 10:12). From this position, Christ exercises his priesthood offering intercession for humanity (4:14-16; 2:!7-18; 7:17-27). Christ will do this until all things are subjected to him (10:13). His session also points toward future judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10; Matthew 19:28).

Douglas Farrow states, "Christ's heavenly session may be likened to a mutatis mutandis, to a period of transitional government. His session, though heavenly indeed, is temporary, not permanent. It is an establishing of the conditions under which, and of the officialdom through which, he is to rule in the kingdom without end" (p. 139; Nicene Christianity: The Future for a New Ecumenism).

Christ's transitional throne in heaven will end when he sets up his permanent throne on earth.


Jordan Barrett said...

Allan, Jesus' session will end? Wow, I've never heard that. Logically this makes sense, but is there any good scriptural grounding of this idea? I'm not trying to imply there isn't, instead I am just curious. Thanks for your posts on the Neglected Affirmations. I'm getting a lot out of them.

Allan R. Bevere said...


Thanks for your comments.

You raise a good point. The idea of Christ's session being temporary is based on the scriptural affirmation that Christ will bring the Kingdom in its totality when all things are fulfilled. If one of the necessary elements of Christ's session is intercession on our behalf, there will come a time, when the kingdom appears in its fulness and we are made complete. At that point we will no longer need intercession.

Moreover, we must not isolate Christ's intercession to the realm of the individual Christian. Christ makes intercession for the church, for its mission to proclaim his lordship in the world. Christ's lordship is not simply a lordship of the human heart, it is lordship over all the world. Thus the church must resist injustice and oppression. It must challenge the principalities and powers by its very way of life as an alternative to the nations of the world.

The image of Christ's session as temporary is one of a King who rules in absentia (though very much present in Spirit), but having influence in his kingdom through his agents. When the King finally returns to set up his eternal throne on earth, his session will be finished. And he shall reign forever and ever!

Jordan Barrett said...

Amen! I loved reading that. Those are some great insights and you worded that really well. Thanks for clarifying that for me.